New York, NY—The world’s ultra wealthy population remained flat in 2015, as the number of individuals with US$30 million or more in net assets grew just 0.6% and total ultra high net worth (UHNW) wealth increased by 0.8%, according to the latest World Ultra Wealth Report released last month by Wealth-X. But the ultra-rich control 12% of the world’s wealth, making their impact far greater than their numbers (0.004% of population).
The greatest growth in ultra-wealth value was in Asia (3.9%), even accounting for the slowing Chinese economy. The Americas, meanwhile, still boast the greatest percentage of the world’s ultra-wealthy, although growth in the region was a modest 1.5% last year. Europe and the Middle East declined.
New York, London and Tokyo remain the top ultra wealthy cities; the chosen homes for one in 10 of the world’s UHNW population. But a number of Asian cities, as well as Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in Brazil saw sharp growth in UHNW individuals.
By gender, the female UHNW population remained steady at 13%, but its share of total wealth fell from 14% to 11% this year, with the average female high net worth wealth dropping from US $147 million to US $126.3 million. Wealth-X’s report attributes this to a higher reliance on inherited wealth and a greater allocation to cash, a drag on returns in an ultra-low interest rate environment. Male wealth, meanwhile, rose 2.4% from US $139.8 million to US $143.1 million, which Wealth-X says reflects greater focus on self-made wealth and a higher-risk asset composition.